This the story of the Working Class and Labour Movement in Guelph, Ontario.
It is a tale of men, women and children working long hours for little pay.
When it comes to history, working class/labour history is often neglected. This is particularly true of communities that are not major metropolitans. Yet, even in large cities, exploring the subject can be difficult due to the lack of material. Economic depressions result in the disappearance of unions and their paperwork as well as the industries in which they worked. Painstaking research is required to unearth even the slimmest of material.
Labouring All Our Lives does not focus on unions alone. It also examines the lives of workers – how they lived, where they lived, what they did to enjoy themselves. It looks at women’s work and child labour within the context of its time, and examines the legislation as it is applied in the various aspects of work. Accompanied by historical photographs as well as descriptions from local sources, the intent is and has always been to provide information that brings the working class to life. It is an attempt to educate anyone and everyone on how the working class lived during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It is a work that wants to explain and tell a story and reveal the ups and downs, hardships and triumphs – such overused words but applicable in this case, of the particular class of Guelphites. Overall, it is an attempt to capture the history of those who truly did labour all their lives.